If you own and operate a small restaurant, you may still use regular garbage cans to dispose of food scraps and trash. However, you may have found that the cans are turned over every morning after being raided by raccoons overnight. If so, use the following three tips to keep the furry vermin away from your garbage cans to keep things tidy and prevent the possible spread of diseases carried by the pests.

Use Your Garbage Disposal for Any Soft Scraps

If you are in the habit of throwing out any leftover food scraps at the end of the day, you should consider changing this habit immediately. When you throw the excess food in the garbage cans, you are essentially leaving the furry critters a veritable smorgasbord every night. And since you do this every day, they know that food will be available and will continue to visit.

While it may be impossible to avoid putting some food in the cans, you can reduce the amount by using your garbage disposal for any soft scraps. Since the majority of the food will be shredded up and flushed down the drain, your garbage cans will not be filled with food for the raccoons to enjoy.

For bones that cannot be processed in your garbage disposal, double bag them in heavy plastic bags. Although it will not completely eliminate the odor of the bones, putting bags around them may reduce the smell enough to keep from attracting new bands of raccoons passing through the area.

Place Bungee Cords and Bricks on top of the Garbage Cans

Since you cannot totally avoid putting food in the garbage cans, you are also going to need to make it more difficult for the raccoons to access it. You can do this by using either bungee cords or bricks. Or to make it even more difficult for the raccoons to remove the lids, use both methods.

To use a bungee cord, thread the two ends through the handles of one of your garbage cans. Then, pull them across the lid, and hook them into the opposite handles. The springiness of the cord will create enough pressure to hold the lid onto the can. Also, when the raccoons try to lift the lid, it will bounce back.

If you desire, place a brick or heavy rock in the middle of the lid after placing the bungee cord. This gives some added protection in case the cord's hook slips off since the weight should keep the lid in place and difficult to lift.

Spray the Cans with Ammonia Every Week

Another way you can deter raccoons is to spray your garbage cans with undiluted ammonia. Since ammonia is one of the main components in urine, the pests may think another animal has marked the area as their territory. Since they will not be able to determine which animal, they may believe it is a predator and stay away.

When spraying your cans, saturate the bottoms with the ammonia. Also, lightly spray the ground around them. Do this once a week to keep the odor of the ammonia fresh so the raccoons will believe the animal is still visiting the area. However, you may need to respray the cans after a heavy rainstorm since the water will wash it away.

While the above tips could keep most raccoons from getting into your restaurant's garbage cans, you may run across a few that are extra clever and can still get inside. Instead of trying to keep the masked pests out of regular cans, contact a commercial dumpster service to discuss your options for getting a small, animal-proof dumpster delivered with regular trash pickup. You can also talk with a company like Mountain Waste & Recycling to arrange for more frequent trash pickup.